Sports devotions are phenomenal tools for outreach ministry, in particular for young men who are often difficult to engage for the Gospel. Our cultural affinity for team-based athletic competition provides an excellent opportunity to meet men where they are with a Sports Devotion. By definition, a sports devotion is a compact message, primarily delivered in an athletic setting to participants who are both churched and unchurched. The religion entity or church provides the facility and administration of popular team sports as an outreach service to the community. The exchange is this, the church provides often low cost and high-quality sports leagues for adults & children, in a regulated environment in exchange for the opportunity to share the message of Christ with all those who participate.
Sports Devotions For Sports Ministry
In our sports ministry, we presented devotionals in two formats. At the beginning of my tenure we presented devotionals in a post-game, team captain led format. From a devotional sheet, we provided to the captains at the beginning of the games the team captain would gather their players and sit down at the conclusion of the game to share the devotion. When I arrived we disrupted the system and positioned the sports devotional, the complete essence of our ministry, upfront to set scripture in front of men and women, boys & girls while they were most attentive. Just prior to the start of the game!
Why Share Sports Devotions
Share to expose people to the basics of the Word in an upbeat, everyday environment. For recreation athletes (ie most adult sport league participants) and youth players, the confines of the field and court are invigorating and exciting. People are jazzed (unless they are playing the Godzilla team) to be there and the environment is decidedly unchurched with everything from the attire to the atmosphere contributing to set the stage for a unique sermon opportunity.
- Share sports devotionals to establish a beachhead of contact between a minister and a prospect.
- Share sports devotionals to slide God’s redemptive message in front of many who dodge Sunday mornings.
- Share sports devotionals to provide a conversation starter between the believers and seekers on each team.
- Share sports devotionals to lift up The Lord above the idol of competition in our culture.
- Share sports devotionals to fulfill the calling to make disciples of all nations, in all places.
Three Keys To Sharing A Sport Devotion
- Develop a succinct, micro-message. Please realize that your preaching window is narrow. The majority of participants will give appropriate, respectful attention at the onset which will last approximately 3 minutes.
- Use an athletic motif that seizes the surroundings and brings the Lord squarely into view. After all, the Christ himself was fond of using visual imagery and harnessing metaphor from the physical panorama of his initial audience.
- Leave them with a single verse at the end and include an invitation for more information, fellowship, worship > anything that beckons a bounce towards the kingdom. This is all the more effective if you actually hang around the field and make yourself available for conversation. You could say something like, “I’ll be available during and after the games, feel free to come and visit with me.”
Find Sports Devotion Resources
Sports Spectrum > Christian Sports Magazine